Monday, February 15, 2016

Service in the DR

On Thursday, February 11th 26 students and 4 chaperons departed for the Dominican Republic on a service learning trip.  GD students and teachers in conjunction with the Community Service Alliance (CSA) and Education First Tours (EF) are concentrating on field work projects in rural parts of the DR.  We are working to support two CSA grassroots projects: Salud Cerrito and Mi Vida en Juego At-Risk Youth Program.  

The rural agricultural community of El Cerrito is located in the province of  El Siebo, which is the third poorest province in the DR.  Electricity, running water, and the availability of health services are in short supply.  CSA has been working to provide a better education and promote healthier living by creating family gardens in an effort to diversify their diets and promote self sufficiency and sustainability.  The program uses baseball and softball as a hook to educate young men and women and provide students with an education and life skills to promote a healthier, better educated community. 

Yesterday, February 14th, GD students enjoyed activities with the locals.  We played a softball game with members of the community.  Some of the DR players were young men and women of MS and HS age.  A few other players are aspiring professional baseball players along with a few former minor league players.  The game was lots of fun and very competitive.  GD lost 7-5 despite a solid pitching effort from Sarah Woods, and 3 hits from Jacob Barnes.  Unfortunately, we could not overcome the two debilitating errors by Mr. Keith Woods.  Other group members toured local homes and visited the health clinic.  The health clinic is only equipped to deal with minor issues, and any serious health problems require a long trek to the hospital.  The facility is manned by one person who sleeps at the facility.  They work in week long shifts. 

Following the day activities, the kids enjoyed some time by the pool.  After dinner they learned local dances including the merengue.  All of the students, albeit some reluctantly, enjoyed the dance lesson.  We are heading back into the village today for another day of service.  

The local clinic

Inside the clinic

Manuel's home

Manuel's home

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